LOOKING BACK, LOOKING AHEAD

Looking out a rain-spotted window at Seattle's Capitol Hill. (Flickr/sea turtle)

We just celebrated Diwali (the Hindu new year) in our household, kicking off a season of new beginnings while winding down the current year. My birthday is also around the corner, so lately I’ve found myself thinking not only about the current year but also about years past.

Like many people, music strongly calls to mind for me a specific time and place in my memories—all of which connect to where I’m at, the music I listen to, and the person who I am now.  From now until the end of December, Apsara will feature a number of artists and albums who represent important influences on the road leading up to its creation in April 2011.

And along the way, we’ll also showcase some of your picks for the music that comprises the soundtrack to your life. We welcome you to e-mail us at apsaramusicblog [at] gmail.com with the name of an artist and album that reminds you of a significant moment or era in your life, with a few sentences about the place that it takes you back to.

I’ll go first, with an artist and album that I only “discovered” just this weekend, but whose music reminds me both of my years in Seattle and of my life in California now.

Robert Deeble is not exactly a household name, but this understated indie folk artist has been garnering critical praise with his albums and performances since the late 1990s. He only releases recordings every few years. The gap between his last album and his forthcoming November release spans six years, for example.

There’s a languid pace to his music that reminds me of life on the California coast, so I was not surprised to discover that Deeble hails from Long Beach. But he’s also spent several years in Seattle, and to my ears that sound comes through in the mellow guitar chords and quiet lyrics. Listening to “Blue,” I’m at once standing on the cliff overlooking Steamer Lane and sitting in the bus to Capitol Hill watching raindrops roll down the window.

Blue
you make me smile
when your mood
lies down
here for awhile
could you afford a major chord
to make us all smile?

Moon
shine down
let your blue light hue
touch the ground
do you mind keeping time
here with my sound? 

Now that I live in California, I feel that I’m “home.” But I’m also a little wistful for the rainy days of dreaming in coffee shops, and I’m grateful for the many friends and amazing musical experiences that I had in Seattle that continue to influence and make my life fulfilling today.

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